Some songs are cut from the blood of hardships, some from the tears of break-ups and disappointments. Others are cut straight from the stone of pure talent, refined, polished and left to shine in refracted light. Occasionally works of pure art are born out of supposed, sheer absurdness. “Stay Together For The Cats” by Fayetteville alternative rockers, The Inner Party, symbolizes the adoption of all of these factors, in varying doses, which I’ll leave you to assess. The key thing to remember, is that this review is specific to this song only. Do not think for one moment that this track formulates the prevailing sound of the collective made up of Keith Miller (vocals, guitar), Dave Morris (bass, vocals), Bob Gaiser (keys, vocals), Jacob Arnold (drums, vocals) and Sean Johnson (guitar, vocals).
On the contrary, an experimental act such as The Inner Party cannot allow themselves the luxury of staying in one musical place too long…and in fact they never do. On the album “Weimer Mixes One” – which contains the single “Stay Together For The Cats” – the sound is dominated by electronics, the expansive keyboard, and its surrogates.
While on the album “Darker”, the harsh crunch of the electric guitar is decidedly set to the fore. Whichever version of The Inner Party you prefer, it’s an indisputable fact, that in each, they are carving their own lane. And on “Stay Together For The Cats”, they’re not even in a lane.
From the opening twinkling key notes, I was hooked. I wanted the hand inside me held. But most of all, I wanted to experience what dark bewildering caverns this one song might lead me down. It only took the opening lyrics to reassure me: “We have to stay together for the cats. I say forever and I mean that. I used to think I cared about dignity, but you’re the only thing that matters baby.”
For all of its near three-and-a-half minutes, the song barely changes: chords stay the same, the melancholy strings and shimmering keys sit in the background, some percussion appears, and so does the guitar.
The vocals never rise above their breathy alto range of notes, at least not until the more edgy ending. It is music that perfectly captures the very essence of its lyrical details. Songs like this aren’t politely seeking company, but are demanding devotion. It’s looking for faith in its projected subject matter.
And how could you not concede it that gratification? The Inner Party more than subtly shifts the light we see music through, deflecting and reshaping the familiar sounds and narratives we know, into something completely new.
You’ve heard pleas, laments and romantic tropes like this, over and over again, in hundreds of songs. You’ve just never heard them presented in such an original way. Which in any art form, is a significantly important factor. Much like the Mona Lisa painting, it’s difficult to decide if “Stay Together For The Cats” is in essence, a happy or sad song. I would personally call it melancholic bliss, and let the cats decide the rest.